American Idol Episode Recap: The Top 10 Perform

Offering a backstage look at the American Idol experience, Season 9 rolled on as the top 10 singers perform soul and R&B songs. There to guide the contestants was Usher, who despite sounding like a broken record, seemed genuinely committed to helping every singer squeeze the most out of his or her songs. In the end, one contestant finally stood out, one reclaimed former glory and one stumbled right out of the gate. Who impressed and who fell flat? Let's find out.

As mentor Usher said, "This isn't the finish line." (Thank goodness!) As I said, Usher seemed to be a solid mentor, even if he seemed to mostly stress to all the contestants the need to make a personal connection. Personal highlights were Tim's awkwardness when Usher asked Tim to sing the love song to him and when Usher took his own advice and took off his shades in order to connect with Andrew.

Also, the "backstage moments" were silly wastes of time. I have no need to see people cry in the green room, or to know that Big Mike was wearing a sleeveless T-shirt under his jacket. On to the singing:

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